The Makati City government on Wednesday started the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pooled swab testing for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and market vendors.
In a social media post, Mayor Abigail Binay said the city government has converted the Makati Coliseum into a “mass testing” center to be used for the pooled testing of about 6,000 residents from Sept. 2 to 8.
Makati City is selected to be the pilot site for the pooled testing initiative under Project Ark, a private sector-led initiative that aims to drastically boost the country’s capacity to identify and contain coronavirus cases.
“Today, Makati City is taking the first big step towards better, faster, and more implementable mass testing for Covid-19. I am proudly supporting this program because this is backed by scientific research,” Binay said. “The results of this trial will have a big impact on local governments as well as businesses and countless industries in the years to come.”
Using the pooled testing method, the swab samples of multiple individuals are put into a single RT-PCR test.
Further assessment will be done if a positive result comes from a single batch of pooled tests.
If the swab tests come back negative, there is no need to undertake individual tests.
The city government has initially swabbed 500 PUV drivers and market vendors from Comavena, Tablanza, Guadalupe Market, and Poblacion market on Wednesday, Binay said.
“Their samples will be pooled in batches and tested for Covid-19 as a group. In the succeeding days, Makati is targeting to have over 1,000 persons swabbed per day,” she added.
Binay said the local government chose to pilot the PUV drivers and public market vendors for the pooled swab testing as “they are (the) most exposed and vulnerable sector” to contract the dreaded virus.
Binay said officials the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team and the Project ARK representatives have witnessed the first pooled swab testing procedure in the city.
“We have a long battle ahead of us, Covid-19 is not going away any time soon. As leaders, we must look forward and think of innovative solutions that can help more people over the long term,” she said.
Meanwhile, Binay said the results of the pilot pooled swab testing will be shared with other local government units. (PNA)